Citizenship Amendment Bill against the spirit of Assam Accord, say dissenting MPs

The Union Cabinet Monday cleared the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Published: 07th January 2019 11:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2019 11:16 PM   |  A+A-

Student activists with members of 28 ethnic organisations take out a rally against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Guwahati. | pti

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Even as the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill — in a majority vote — gave a go-ahead to the controversial Bill, as many as eight MPs in the 30-member Committee appended their notes of dissent to the report.

The dissenting MPs said the provisions of the Bill went against the spirit of the Assam Accord and will accentuate divisions and discontent among the people of the state.

The dissenting MPs are Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Javed Ali Khan (SP), Saugata Roy and Derek O'Brien (TMC), Mohammad Salim (CPI-M), and Bhubaneswar Kalita, Pradip Bhattacharya, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Sushmita Dev (Congress).

In his dissent report, Mahtab said, during the visit of the Committee to Assam, a large number of delegates apprised the Committee of the serious discontent among the people against the Bill. In an already densely populated state, this will open floodgates, thereby accentuating the discontent among the people of Assam.

The TMC members said they have opposed to the Bill as it brings out the ethnic divisions in Assam and noted that the AGP had threatened to pull out of the Assam government. "The Bill was seen as one of the reasons for the perceived resurgence extremist groups such as the ULFA-Independent. Security forces blamed the outfit for killing Hindu Bengalis seen as beneficiaries of the Bill in Assam's Tinsukia district," they said.

The Congress members said that the amendments create ethnic divisions in Assam and the Northeast and there were reasons to be perceived that there will be resurgence of extremist groups in Assam and the Northeast. They said that the Bill nullifies the Assam Accord, under which anyone, irrespective of religion, entering the state illegally after March 1971, should be declared foreigner and deported.

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